Why AI Will Not Eliminate All Meaningful Jobs

As a minimalist being stuck on lock down, I sure have been blessed with so much free time to learn and do new things I would not normally do if life was still the way it was pre-COVID-19. I’ve been reading and learning a lot about how this pandemic will change the future of work and the changes we have to go through to remain functional as a society. With social distancing and remote work being practiced globally, the imminent use of AI in all aspects of our lives will be accelerated in the coming months. Aside from the fact that AIs won’t be infected with the virus, it is the most cost-efficient way to ensure business continuity especially for companies who heavily rely on processes that can be automated like book-keeping, proofreading, transportation services, and many others. Although despite that, I still believe that AI will not be able to take over most of the jobs known to man because there are still a lot of things they cannot do that require humanistic qualities.

Since the beginning of time, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been portrayed as humanity’s greatest enemy. We are threatened by their existence because they are everything we are not – objective, obedient, stoic. People have a hard time becoming those three things because we are highly emotional beings. In the work setting, showing too much feelings is frowned upon because it is a sign of instability and helplessness. Not gaining control of ones’ emotions is a sign of incompetence because we tend to be irrational and unproductive when our moods take over. At the end of the day, our employers just need results – nothing personal, it’s just business.

However, I believe our feelings and emotions are not a disadvantage because it is for this reason that we continue searching for better and greater things. Humanity’s drive for growth and excellence are the reasons why we came up with AI to begin with. People want more output in a shorter amount of time so they can do more meaningful things outside of work, like spending time with family and honing a creative skill. As time progresses and AIs become more sophisticated, we will learn what things they can do better than us. We should not see this as a negative situation where they will eventually take over our jobs and the world. Instead, we should see this as an opportunity to evolve into higher, more complex human beings.

For people to grow into more multi-faceted and multi-talented beings, there is a need to revamp and overhaul the educational system to teach them how to best use their emotions in more strategic and productive ways. We would normally deal with our feelings in disparaging methods, thereby making us useless and dysfunctional. While it is part of human nature, it is the role of educational systems to future-proof humans by teaching us how to re-channel that emotional energy into improving global well-being. People should be taught how to manage and understand their emotions so they can have control and clarity on the effects it has on our lives and how it can be used as opportunities for growth. Having that ability to dissect and understand emotions will enable us to better manage our personal well-being while also allowing us to look for creative, human-centered solutions to global problems. In doing so, we ensure that the things we are doing and the jobs we are generating are indispensable and purposeful.

AIs will not eliminate all meaningful jobs because it is us, humans, who put meaning and value in jobs. Meaningfulness, like feelings, is subjective. If we feel that what we are doing is still needed by society and no other person (or robot) can do it better than us, then that just shows how important our work is. Humanity’s ever-changing needs and wants dictate what is deemed essential in the world, and if we upgrade our capabilities and skills depending on that, we will never be replaceable and useless. As long as we put global well-being at the core of what we do, we will always find ways to stay relevant and needed.

Here’s Another Banger from Flight Facilities — ‘Need You’ feat. NÏKA

My favorite Aussie boys have done it yet again. After surprising us with that beautiful “curve ball” of a single ‘Stranded’ (featuring Broods, Reggie Watts, and Saro), Flight Facilities launched a new song that pays homage to the sound they have been famous for.

‘Need You’ sounds like a more grown-up version of the duo’s 2014 hit ‘Crave You’. In fact, you can even hear the same* dancey drumlines from the latter all throughout the new song. Aside from this, Hugo and Jimmy made sure they injected their signature funky basslines and disco-esque synths, making the song more accessible to retired EDM/pop-loving folks.

Fans of the guys will agree that this wouldn’t be a Flight Facilities song if they do not feature their trademark female vocals in their creation. This time, Broods’ younger sister NÏKA lent her dreamy, enchanting voice, making the song unusually nostalgic and reminiscent of so many hits from the 80s.

This is definitely a shoo-in in my 18 of 2018.

Enjoy the video above, or listen to it on Soundcloud or Spotify. Or you can catch Flight Facilities live in their upcoming tour (crossing my fingers and toes that they drop by Southeast Asia soon).🤞

 

 

*Yes, I noticed this because I listened to it at least 7x straight since they launched it yesterday

Passion Project #1: Luisa’s

Since I started my marketing career, I’ve always enjoyed the whole NPD process as it was that part of my job that enabled me to become both creative and analytical. I felt most alive when I worked with artists on designing packaging labels, shortlisting jars and bottle with packaging engineers, picking scents and ingredients with chemists, and even meeting suppliers to check out their latest innovations. I’m very thankful that Splash Corporation allowed me to experience all these (thanks Doc and Ms. Glenda! 🙏🏻).

Now that I’m working for a multinational company, creating new products hasn’t been that “exciting” as before as most developments are done centrally by the global headquarters. Nothing wrong here – I understand that economies of scale and scope are important to be competitive. But a part of me still craves for that whole excitement of actually giving birth to a product that you can truly consider your own.

So here I am now, satiating that NPD thirst with Luisa’s. It’s actually not mine – I’m just helping out my mom as I feel her gardening talent has huge potential especially now that almost everything, including food, is being faked (Backstory: yesterday, my mom cooked pizza and it was so weird that the mozzarella and cheddar cheese she bought did not melt even if it was baking in the oven for >15mins! It looked like burnt plastic seriously. We baked another batch but this time using a different brand and it melted just like any normal/real cheese would do).

Aside from the rampant distribution of fake food, this is also a good avenue to put to productive use the things I learned in business grad school and my sister’s uber-marketable art direction and graphic design skills.

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Luisa is actually our grandmother. She, like our mom, is head-over-heels obsessed with plants and farming that up until today (she’s in her 80s), she’s still very hands-on with the operations of her farm in Bicol. She visits the uma (ricefields) on a daily basis to check on the crop and everything planted there. Naming the products after her was a no-brainer as the green thumb genes come from her side of the family.

In a nutshell, Luisa’s is all about eco-friendly and sustainable gardening for your culinary and greenery creations. It offers fresh and sun-dried herbs, spices, food, and plants that are ready for cooking and cultivating at the comfort of your home. Luisa’s enables you to live the good life by allowing you to cook and grow your own food the healthiest and most organic way possible.

Luisa's Herbs

My mom is targeting to launch this by June. Right now, Lai and I are helping her with all the branding, product portfolio creation, digital promotions, etc. as these are what we actually do on a daily basis. Once in place, my mom will take it from there.

I’ll post more about this Passion Project as we make significant progress on the branding and marketing strategy. Stay tuned. ✌️

Check This: Bonobo and Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker): No Reason

Very very nice way to get me through hump day! Bonobo launched just a few hours ago a new single from his upcoming album Migration. The new track, No Reason, features swoon-worthy vocals from one of my favorite Aussies Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker). This new song was not quite a surprise since they also dropped a 2-hour (!!!) mix together a few months ago – a good way to hint that there will be more things to expect from this collaboration.

No Reason is a 7-minute long dreamy and ethereal track, with its whole vibe altering between dark ambient and deep, minimalist electro. What I like about it is the fact that it was able to holistically marry Bonobo’s signature ambient/downtempo beats and percussions with Murphy’s cool, soulful musical style.

Migration will be out this Friday. I’ll definitely get my copy. In the meantime, you can listen to No Reason here:

 

16 of 2016, Pt. 2

To complete Part 1 of my 16 of 2016, here are the remaining 8 tracks I became addicted to the past 365 days.

Say it (feat. Tove Lo) – Flume

I’m pretty sure Flume faced so much pressure after releasing his self-titled debut album last 2012 that it took him 4 years to release a new one. His first album was a complete game-changer, even putting AU in the global electronic music scene. I’m sighing with relief as Skin did not disappoint, avoiding that cursed sophomore slump. Say It, for me, is a true standout as it was able to capitalize on Flume’s signature deep electro sound and Tove Lo‘s pop sensibilities. It made this genre very accessible and easily understandable, yet still aligned with Flume’s true musical identity.

Peace – Kenton Slash Demon

Danish techno and house duo Kenton Slash Demon released an out-of-the-ordinary song this year through Peace, wherein for the first time, they employed full-length vocals for the said track. Their musical style is more instrumental rather than vocal, particularly using quirky samples (the most popular would be the notification sound for the messaging app Line). Peace is the first time they used lyrics and full-fledged vocals, and I feel this experiment was done perfectly well. They became more relatable yet at the same time, were able to retain their dark electro and deep disco vibe which what attracted me in the first place to their music.

Boss – Disclosure

Releasing their 2nd album just a few months prior, Disclosure pleasantly surprised us with their unexpected launch of Moog For Love EP. Boss was my favorite in this 3-track album as it reminded me so much of the songs from their first album Settle. It was the perfect marriage of electro and pop, something that they kind of veered away in Caracal. Boss is packed with deep, funky bass, syncopated synths, and LSS-worthy vocal samples that would make you dance in the middle of H&M while shopping (I did exactly just that at H&M UP Town Center, nakakahiya).

Fade – Kanye West

The first time I listened to The Life of Pablo while driving along Buendia at 5:30 in the morning, I was woken up by this deep dancey bass line that reminded me of George of the Jungle’s theme. I knew off the bat this was going to be my favorite song from the album. Kanye West is a genius, and he knows it. He knows the human voice is the best instrument there is so he made sure this was used by merging Ty Dolla $ign‘s vocals with different gospel-sounding samples to make it as rich- and innovative-sounding as possible. Pairing it up with that controversial music video, you know ‘Ye’s got it and his musical magic won’t fade anytime soon.

You’re the One (feat. Syd) – Kaytranada

This song is just pure classic funk, that is, again, reminiscent of the 70s but made more modern with Kaytra‘s signature fresh synths and up-tempo percussion combo. What makes You’re The One my favorite from 99.9% was Syd‘s simple yet harmonic vocals that gave the song a sexy laid-back nature which kinda reminds of you of those early hip hop songs you’d play on your Walkman. It’s a feel good track all in all, enabling Kaytra to showcase his distinctive electrohop sound.

Night Moves – Roosevelt

Another gem of an artist from Greco-Roman and Future Classic, Roosevelt‘s musical style is so refined as he is able to combine classic disco, funk, modern electro , and even pop in his songs. Night Moves is a testament to that. It is unique yet accessible which makes it very easy to listen (and even dance) to.

Love$ick (feat. A$AP Rocky) – Mura Masa

Mura Masa‘s Lovesick Fuck, in itself was already beautiful to begin with. But this remake with A$AP Rocky was just out of this world, drop-dead, heart-stopping gorgeous. I still fall in love to this song every single time I listen to it. They effortlessly combined hip hop, R&B, tropical house, electro, and techno in one song. And even if it is a combination of all these genres, it still exuded that signature, minimalist vibe that Mura Masa became famous for. It is soooo refreshing yet reminiscent of early 2000s hiphop and 2010 electro at the same time. This is undoubtedly one of the best collaborations of the year and their tandem works effortlessly and perfectly.

Redbone – Childish Gambino

Donald Glover never fails to disappoint. Awaken, My Love! came as a surprise mainly because the whole vibe of the album was not something we expected from ‘Bino. His previous albums were all hardcore hip hop – and this was, well, funk, soul, R&B, gospel, basically, everything but hip hop. He wants show the whole world that he can do anything and everything. Redbone was definitely a testament to that. He showcased his vocal chords more than his rhymes. He proved that he can sing and belt out those falsetto Aretha Franklin-esque notes that can compete with Prince’s. He definitely killed it just in the nick of time, right before the year was about to end.

So there! I made this playlist public on Spotify so you can indulge and be hooked to the songs I obsessed over this 2016. Enjoy! ✌🏿

16 of 2016, Pt. 1

Since 2010, I’ve been creating these playlists called XX of 20xx to run down the top songs released that year I’ve been mercilessly playing on repeat. This is my 6th year doing this, and I feel this batch has been the most diverse as I’ve deliberately expanded my musical tastes to other genres other than electropop.

2016 has been one chaotic, confusing year as very strange things that happened in all parts of the world. Thankfully, music was able to save us from all this weirdness with probably the best lineup of releases one has never imagined. From David Bowie’s Blackstar, Frank Ocean’s BlondeFlume’s Skin, to Bon Iver’s 22, A Million, they gave musicheads like me a hard time populating their own “best of 2016” playlists.

So enough of the blabbers. Here’s part 1 of my 16 of 2016, the songs that were played on repeat for more than 100x, arranged in no particular order:

All Night (feat. Dornik) – SG Lewis

Despite being born in the late 90s, SG Lewis sure knows what makes a soulful 80s-sounding hit. He got the formula right – the thick bass, sensual synths, funky guitar riffs, and of course, the sexy voice of label-mate/Kele Okereke look-alike Dornik. These were surefire ways of keeping me glued and addicted to this song.

Money On Me (feat. Anderson.Paak) – Snakehips

My favorite DJ Duo Oliver Lee and James Carter followed up their hit “All My Friends” with this track in collaboration with the most underrated rapper of our generation, Anderson .Paak. Money on Me is the perfect blend of hip hop, electronica, and soul – the Snakehips Signature Sound that got me hooked to this tandem for the past 3 years. I was just a little disappointed they didn’t play this in their Manila show. #FirstWorldProblems

My Toy (feat. Yasmin) – Breakbot

This song from the French producer has that similar feel to his earlier hit (which btw, Bruno Mars ripped offBaby I’m Yours. It has the modern electro/disco sound (my weakness!), basically ticking off all the items that makes an infectious new wave retropop song. The cherry on top would be British DJ/Producer Yasmin‘s Carly Rae Jepsen-esque vibe which makes it very easy to listen to.

Friends (feat. Bon Iver and Kanye West) – Francis & The Lights

You can never go wrong with a Justin VernonKanye West  collaboration. But adding Francis & The Lights to the equation is just pure genius. Similar to my other picks, it has that tinge of new wave and disco, with a minimalist, head-bopping bass club beat rumbling in the background. Friends is fun, catchy, weird in some sort of way, yet still heartwarming – the result of a Justin-Kanye-Francis union, something unexpected and mind-blowing.

Meet in the Middle – Ta-ku & Wafia

My favorite Aussie-Pinoy producer Ta-ku teamed up with songstress Wafia for this beautiful and emotionally-charged EP, (m)edian. Here, Ta-ku proved that he’s more than just a beatmaker. Ta-ku’s trap and synth influences and unexpected soulful voice plus Wafia’s expressive wispy vocals was the perfect combination – they created spine-tingling harmonies and complementing cadences that would push you to come back for more of their music.

No Problem (feat. Lil Wayne and 2Chainz) – Chance the Rapper

Coloring Book is surely one of the best releases of the year, with Chance the Rapper continuously taking down all sorts of barriers and contradicting notions when it comes to breaking out in the music industry. No Problem is a true cla$$ic (and yes, I’m writing that with a $ sign because it is deserving) – it’s soulful thanks to the vocal choir effect all throughout the song; it’s groovy and bouncy, with the heavy bass lines and catchy hooks; it’s hip hop, thanks to 2Chainz and Lil Wayne (enough said); it’s inspiring as it talked about how determined he is to become successful in this cutthroat industry by being on his own and not be dictated by some greedy major record label.

Say a Prayer for Me – RUFUS

This song is a nice intersection of their 2 other releases (Like an Animal & Innerbloom) from the same album. It is soothing, blissful, and dance-y, thanks to the airy synths, soft percussions, and Tyrone’s bedroom voice. Listening to this song is like a religious experience you really want to say a prayer to the electropop gods. It is so euphoric it makes you want to dance out of sheer joy and just lift your hands up to the disco heavens.

Love Like That – Mayer Hawthorne

First thing I thought off when I heard this song was Hall & Oates, and man, I’m a huge H&O fans.If Daryl and John hears this, they’d definitely want to be associated with Mayer Hawthorne as he was able to flawlessly represent the former’s aesthetic. The song is again, disco (weakness ko talaga ‘to huhu) – it is a burst of synths and 70s-inspired bass lines, very tito/tita-mommy/daddy friendly especially when you play it in the car with them.

This is for now, for the first part. I’ll be posting the 2nd part before the year ends. Stay tuned for that. ✌🏿

 

The Rebranding of George Maple

Having worked in brand management since 20XX, I can easily summarise the characteristics of an appealing, saleable, and long-lasting brand in 3 points:

  • Likeable but deviant
  • Unique and useful
  • Simple and timeless

Like it or not, this applies to everything – consumables, services, events, people, you name it. I live and breathe marketing so I can’t help but evaluate everything I encounter based on these three buckets. I use these qualifiers to shortlist if a certain product/service is worth my money and time and if it strongly it resonates with me.

Since a remarkable chunk of my salary is spent on music,  I do this most often on artists I listen to as a way to justify if I should buy more of their stuff (album, concert ticket, merch, etc) or not. I encounter more than a handful of new artists everyday, but to be honest, only a few have stood out amidst this clutter to the point that it has made me at the very least like/follow their social media account.

One of these artists is George Maple. I first heard her early 2014 when she released her single Talk Talk, and my first impression of her reminded me so much of Jessie Ware. Her overall vibe was very similar that it was not surprising that you’d mistake her for the British artist. Because of this resemblance, I can’t help but feel that she was just another ripoff. I felt there was enough room for just one of them, so that time, I chose Jessie over her – the original over a wanna-be.

But recently, I’ve noticed how much she has changed her branding as an artist. From her image, wardrobe, her collaboration, and even down to her logo, she did a complete 360. Her rebranding hit the 3-point characteristics I mentioned earlier, and it worked to her advantage that it made me look and listen to her twice.

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George Maple is deviant, but likeable.

From meek and traditional, she became deviant and daring that I’m actually comparing her to either the 80s era Madonna or the 00s Britney Spears. Placing her side-by-side with the other female artists I listen to, she very distinct. I can instantly pinpoint she’s not cutesy like Kimbra, not eccentric like Kucka or FKA Twigs, not dark and mysterious like BANKS, not sexy-sweet like Alina Baraz, not “innocent yet conniving” like Lana Del Rey, not bohemian like Florence and the Machine, not gothic like Lorde, and not tomboy-ish like Shura. She stands out like a red rose in a field daisies and daffodils.

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L-R, T-D: Kimbra, Lana Del Rey, BANKS, FKA Twigs, George Maple, Kucka, Lykke Li, Jessie Ware, Florence & the Machine

I find her likeable because she exudes, and is able to pull off a certain masculine femininity that gives her that strong yet approachable appeal. And she carries it well. She reminds me of a female George Michael. From a brand manager’s point of view, possessing this vibe allows her to appeal to two ends of the gender spectrum.

George Maple is unique and useful.

Image-wise, I’ve already described her uniqueness extensively. In a way, her image is also useful as its very empowering to women.

Sound-wise, she’s distinct from the other female artists I listen to as she’s very versatile and open to different collaborations that will make her a staple in any genre.

  • She can be very in-your-face EDM-R&B-Trip Hop-Hip Hop all at the same time
  • She can be soulful, classical and downtempo.
  • She can be accesible pop

Her range and flexibility is very useful especially nowadays when there are just too many artists who want to breakout in the industry. Her ability to collaborate with artists from different genres without losing her identity lets her leave a lasting mark wherever she goes.

George Maple is simple and timeless.

In an interview with Triple J, she said she’s exploring a “sex, money, and power” theme in all her creative projects. Her message is straighforward and simple, talking about the 3 most coveted ideologies in the world.

Aesthetically, this is illustrated in her logo. From the dated typography she used back in 2013 to the block and bold sans serif today:

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Her on-stage presence also embodies the classic, top-of-mind woman in power: the dominatrix. Clad in leather, mesh, animal prints, and fur, she really is a headturner on stage, demanding your full attention else, you will be punished.

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IMHO, George Maple > Jessie Ware.

Since her rebranding, I’ve been more of a George Maple fan than of Jessie Ware as her image is more exciting and intersting than the latter. So when We The Fest announced their 2016 line up and it included her, I booked my plane ticket to Jakarta in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

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George Maple at WTF 2016. Photo by me.

And boy, was my decision right. She was a show stopper, singing her originals as well as classics and pop hits like Jeff Buckley’s Everybody Here Wants You and Britney Spears’ Boys. At first, the concert ground was only about half full when she started. But as her show went on, it slowly filled with people who were most likely intrigued and mesmerized by her stage presence and haunting performance. My purchase was worth it, and expect that I will be patronizing more of her projects.

George Maple learned the basics of building a strong brand identity – she was able to balance the optimal level of artistry and accessiblity to make her distinct from other female artists while still appealing to a wide audience through her desirable, timeless image.

But just because she was able to perfect this aspect, doesn’t mean her work is done. Brand building is a continuous process. It is important to always be grounded with market insight to keep yourself relevant to them. Interact with your fans and other potential audience for you to know what appeals to them. Their tastes change, so if you want to them to be with you throughout your career, you should always keep  them in mind in your new projects.

5 Days, 6kg

I will be flying to Jakarta this Thursday to attend We The Fest. Aside from Laneway, this has been an annual thing for me, my bestfriend, and my sister. It’s so nice that this year, Allan and his brother will also be joining us.

I started diverting my expenses from foods and clothes to music festivals since last 2013 when I made the conscious decision of spending more on experiences than material things.  I save up for my walwalan expenses every 4th quarter of the previous year in anticipation for the 1st quarter music festival season. To make sure that the gigs/concerts I go to will be worth it, I make sure that the artist lineup are all in my Band Bucketlist. Else, I wouldn’t spend a peso for it.

When it comes to traveling, I’m pretty sure I’m also in the top 10% of women who pack light. I do this by not availing check-in luggages, especially for trips that are only 1 week long. This helps me manage my airfare cost and shopping expenses. I get to stick to the 7kg carry-on luggage allowance by keeping these 3 things in mind:

  1. My clothes and shoes should have one color theme for easier mixing and matching. In my case, it’s obviously black, white, and gray.
  2. I only pack the exact number of clothes and toiletries for the whole trip. In my case, I wear 2 pairs of clothes and undergarments in a day – one for sleeping, one for going out. Of course there will be exceptions depending on the purpose of my travel.
  3. I ask the hotel/hostel/Airbnb owner in advance if they have towels and a hair dryer in advance so I won’t be packing my own.

I applied these 3 rules to my upcoming trip. Here’s how my things look like:

Clothes + Undergarments

We’ll arrive in Jakarta on the 12th, then fly back to Manila on the 16th – that’s a total of 5 days. This would mean 5 pairs of clothes for going out, 5 pairs for sleeping. My travel wardrobe is very no-frills and functional. I make sure I look decent enough in it, while at the same time comfortable enough to walwal in it.

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I’m very very OC about undergarments that’s why I overpacked this item.

Toiletries

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I buy the travel size packs of my everyday consumables. For my shampoo and conditioner, I use the sachets so I can throw it right away. Though its weight is negligible, it makes a huge difference in my luggage’s physical space.

Other Items

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  • We will have a 6-hour layover in Singapore going to Jakarta and back to Manila so I packed my Aquazorb towel so I can freshen up during this time. I seriously swear by this product – though it’s only a few inches bigger than a regular hand towel, it’s super absorbent it can dry up my whole body, including my hair.
  • Instead of packing isopropyl alcohol or hand gel, I replaced it with wipes as it’s easily disposable and more portable.
  • My slippers and laundry bag are staples for me.

Combining all these, here’s how my luggage looks like and how much my luggage weighs:

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5 days worth of stuff, weighing only 6.7kg. If I bring my laptop and jacket, the 7kg is still more than enough. It also helps that my luggage is lightweight. Come to think of it, I can actually fit these in a backpack. But yeah, I don’t want to roam the airport with a bulky thing on my back, so this would definitely do.

I’m ultra conscious of making the most of all experiences I go through. Taking away mundane things from my mind like clothes and toiletries allow me to put more focus on the experience and be present in every single second of it. I hope this minimalist take on  packing/traveling was helpful so you can genuinely enjoy your trip.

With that, I say walwalan na, guys.

Daily Declutter: Phone

If you think getting rid of your physical stuff is tough, wait until you try decluttering the “soft” stuff. I’m pertaining to the documents in your laptop, apps in your phone, photos and movies in your hard drive, mp3s in your iPod – basically, all your files. What makes these hard to delete is because of its non-physical property. Just because there’s no hard evidence that it’s there does not mean it’s not taking up space.

I’m guilty of being a hoarder of the soft stuff, especially when it comes to my mp3s. I’ve been holding on to songs and albums in my iPod that I haven’t listened to for years now. Up until this day, I find those hard to delete because of “just-in-case” days when I suddenly feel like playing my #TBT/#FBF tunes. Anyway, I’ll write about my mp3 player in a separate post as I feel this will be a huge life-changer for me. But for today, I’ll focus on decluttering another EDC: our phone.

People who have tinkered with my phone have consistently described it as very organized. To give you an idea, here’s how my homescreen looks like:

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Check this out – there’s only one dot at the semi-bottom part of my screen. 

Since I started using a smartphone, I’ve always hated flipping through countless screens just to look for an app. Smartphones are supposed to make our lives easier, but it has been doing the opposite. Our cluttered devices prevent us from becoming more effective because it is full of apps that distract us from what we intend to do. Instead of making us feel more in control, we’re more out of it because we have access to all this digital freedom which, sad to say, is used irresponsibly.

This realization has enabled me to create a system that will make my smartphone more value-adding. Here are the things I keep in mind whenever I organize my phone stuff:

  • Starting with my wallpaper, I make sure the background is simple (design- and color-wise) so the app labels are readable even when I’m mobile. I try to avoid using bright-colored images as it is too distracting especially when I use my phone at night.
  • After choosing the wallpaper, I create folders that are aligned with my daily activities (finance, health, messaging, navigation, productivity, social media), and interests (music, photography). All the apps installed in my phone are classified based on these categories
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There’s an “outcast” folder I named Pre-Installed. I prepated that just in case Apple rolls out an option to FINALLY get rid of useless apps.
  • For the contents of each folder, I make sure I only retained those oftenly used. I shortlisted this by going to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage. From here, I uninstalled apps that do not consume my battery life aka unused apps. It all boiled down to the Pre-Installed apps.

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  • We have this tendency to keep useless apps especially those connected to our hobbies/interests. In my case, this will be music and photography. To make sure I’m not wasting storage space, I only install 1-2 apps per hobby/interest.

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I only have Spotify installed in my laptop. I do not have it in my phone as my iPod has more than enough songs for me to enjoy. This also helps me manage my phone bill, enabling me to spend less on data as what I originally budgeted. I kept Songkick because I want to real-time updates on gigs/concerts happening nearby.

As for my photography apps, VSCO is the only thing installed as it’s the one recommended by my #LifePeg, Ta-Ku (hahahaha). I also kept Google Photos as it automatically backs up the photos I take, allowing me to delete photos saved in my phone. This gives me more space again to take photos.

I hear a lot of complaints about the 16GB iPhone, mostly revolving around its small storage space. To be clear, my phone is the exact same model. But despite all these negative reviews, I’m over the moon satisfied with it.

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I still have 3.2GB worth of free space, which I feel is more than enough for me to get by day to day. With less apps installed in my phone, I get to manage both my phone memory and data charges.

My phone is no longer a distraction. Instead, it enhances my real-life interactions – I pay attention to the people I’m with and the happenings around me as I don’t get sucked in the Bermuda Triangle of videos, memes, and newsfeeds in my device. If I do use it, I only whip it out to capture moments I want to remember forever.

My phone declutter has significantly improved my daily routines. By simplifying my digital life, it has helped me worked smarter – exactly what it’s purpose in our life is supposed to be.